Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Day 6: The M48 Mauser

The M48 Mauser is the first rifle I ever owned and is by far, one of my favorites. First, before I get into why I love this rifle so much, let me give you a little history about it. The M48 Mauser is a bolt-action rifle that was produced in Yugoslavia and based on the German Mauser K98 used during WWII. The Yugoslavian Mausers were developed in 1948, with production beginning in 1950 and going until 1965. By the time these rifles were being produced they were already becoming obsolete, with semi-automatic battle rifles taking their place. Consequently, this led to most of the rifles being put into storage shortly after they were manufactured. Today, these rifles can generally be found in great condition. This is due to a Yugoslavian maintenance program that consisted of cleaning and inspecting the rifles every 5 years right up until that nation dissolved.
My love with this rifle goes beyond the simple fact that it was the first rifle I ever purchased. It is a great entry firearm for someone just getting into shooting or for someone looking for a little piece of history. You can pick one of these rifles up almost anywhere and for the price, it’s a great bargain. Of all the assorted firearms I now own, the Mauser is by far the rifle I can shoot most accurately with. Just being able to lay down with this rifle and drill holes into a target 100 yards away, with nothing but the original iron sights, is a thrill like no other. It is a great piece of history that won’t let you down and will hit whatever you point it at.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day 5: 2010 - The Year of the Full Auto... Part One

People that know us personally know we have a few contacts in the firearm industry. From members of the training community to retailers and wholesalers, we've met a handful of great people in the last couple of years. Fortunately for us, a couple of those guys happen to have a slew of fully automatic firearms - regulated by the National Firearms Act.

It was our privilege to attend a 'machine gun shoot' this past weekend hosted by a friend of ours located a short drive away in the Metro Detroit area. This was not the first event of this type we have been to, but there were some weapons I had never shot, so nonetheless, I was excited. I also took the opportunity to bring some friends who have never shot anything fully automatic, which I will add they loved!

As usual, at the shoot there was a plethora of options for us to try out. Ranging from the newest of the new in firearm technology, to the simplest and cheapest sub machine gun that could possibly be made.

Here is the total list present that day:

  • AK-47 (7.62x39)
  • HK416 lower with a LMT 10" upper (5.56)
  • HK G36C with suppressor (5.56)

Submachine Guns:
  • HK UMP45 with suppressor (.45ACP)
  • HK MP5 A2 (9mm)
  • HK MP5 A3 (9mm)
  • HK MP5 SD (9mm)
  • Colt M16A2 in 9mm (9mm)
  • M3A1 Grease Gun (.45ACP)
  • Sten MK2 (9mm)
  • IMI UZI (9mm)
  • IMI Mini UZI (9mm)
  • Thompson M1A1 Submachine gun (.45ACP)
  • Kriss Super V .45 subgun (.45ACP)

  • Sig P226 9mm suppressed (9mm)
  • Sig Sauer Mosquito with suppressor
  • Glock 17 with Full Auto Sear

I was most excited to shoot one of my favorite guns of all time - the M3A1 Grease Gun. There is just something about the rhythm of .45ACP shells thumping their way down range about 450 rounds per minute. The only way to describe such a thing is to compare it to a military march. The cadence of boots clapping on pavement gives a similar sense as the Grease Gun spewing its methodically staccato lead - thud - thud - thud - thud.

To be expected everyone in attendance had a blast (no pun intended) and enjoyed themselves. Thats it for today, but stayed tuned for reviews on the M1871/88 Beaumont Vitali, a look into the American 'War Baby' the M1 Carbine, and a surprise or two!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Day 4: The Old Russian Workhorse

I think it’s about time to take a step back after doing some posts about the Glock 20 and its various ammo types. We'll look back at one of the most widely produced, used, and now a days cherished firearm of all time - the Mosin-Nagant.

The year is 1891 and after employing one of the most technologically advanced rifles of the day - the Berdan Rifle - the Russian Empire is looking for a new rifle design. They eventually decided on what will become the infamous Mosin-Nagant. Designed by Russian Sergei Mosin and Belgian Leon Nagant, this rifle was adopted in 1891 with the official designation ‘3 line rifle, model 1891’. At first production was slow, but by outsourcing the design Russia was able to fulfill its need which could not be met domestically. When Russia entered World War One, outsourcing increased to also include American firms such as New England Westinghouse and Remington, an odd and somewhat overlooked part of American firearm history. Unfortunately with the civil unrest that began to plague the Tsar towards the end of the war, the American contracts were soon disbanded as the Russians could no longer afford the rifles. Many of these “American Mosin-Nagants” were in turn sold to private citizens in the United States and are prime historic pieces.

At about this time adaptations of the M1891 began to come to fruition, mainly cavalry versions of the original rifle. By cutting down the rifle’s overall length a cavalrymen could now wield the rifle much more efficiently, a trend that would continue as battlefield tactics progressed in the coming decades. Two very similar versions of the cavalry version were the Dragoon and Cossack, both just a few inches shorter than its predecessor.

In 1930 the rifle saw yet another change. An updated Dragoon rifle was designated M91/30. As opposed with previous updates to the rifle the M91/30 saw vast changes such as to the rear and front sights, barrel retention bands, and fashioned a round receiver as opposed to the hex receiver found on the Dragoon. This rifle would be the mainstay of the now Soviet army for the major of the next two decades, only to be replaced by the AK47 and SKS45 towards the end of the 1940s. That takes us to the outbreak of war in Europe and Asia.

The year is 1937 – the Asian continent is engulfed with war and Europe is mobilizing. The Soviets seeing a need for a more lightweight and un-encumbering rifle begin to research a carbine version of the M91/30.

In 1938 the Soviets designed a 40’’ version of the M91/30 that was unable to accept a bayonet, and designated it the M38. This is an extreme leap from the 48.5’’ M91/30 and while originally designed for support units, it finds itself on the front lines time and time again.

Flash forward to the year 2007. While looking for my first firearm purchase I had narrowed it down to wanting something with historic significance, as history is a passion of mine. I decided the Mosin-Nagant family and eventually on the M38 because it was readily accessible to purchase and was, I thought, more unique than the M91/30. After buying the rifle I went to the range by myself and after firing about 100 rounds of 7.62x54R ammo I was hooked! When I got home I emailed an old friend of mine who I had spoken with in a while and told him all about my new found passion for my rifle – not only shooting aspect but also the history of it. He was extremely interested and after going with me to the range once he was also hooked. The rest is history.

To this day I still own that rifle – an all matching 1944 Izhevsk M38 – and I love it just as much as the day I bought it years ago. Even though we have a lot nicer, newer, or interesting guns to shoot, when we have a chance to go to the range I still like to bring the old workhorse out and enjoy shooting it as much as I did in 2007.

That’s all for now – feel free to let us know what your favorite Mosin-Nagant variant is, or ask any questions regarding the 3-line rifle!

Day 3: 10mm Ammunition

At the range this past weekend, we decided to run a brief test of a few of our favorite factory loads for the 10mm auto cartridge. Although reloading ammunition is a much more cost-effective method of practice, most people would agree that factory loads are necessary for self-defense ammunition for a carry or nightstand piece.

Ammunition Tested (pictured above):
  1. Double Tap 180 grain FMJ Match [1250 fps / 625 ft-lbs]
  2. Double Tap 200 grain FMJ Full Power [1275 fps / 722 ft-lbs]
  3. Double Tap 200 grain WFNGC Hardcast [1300 fps / 750 ft-lbs]
  4. Winchester 175 grain Super-X Silvertip JHP [1290 fps / 649 ft-lbs]
  5. Double Tap 200 grain Controlled Expansion JHP [1250 fps / 694 ft-lbs]
  6. Double Tap 230 grain Equalizer [1040 fps / 553 ft-lbs]
  7. Buffalo Bore 180 grain Heavy JHP [1350 fps / 782 ft-lbs]
Full Metal Jacket / Solid Rounds:

Double Tap Full Power FMJs are great for any application where you need intense firepower in a solid projectile. If you feel like you're bound by the Geneva Conventions (or more correctly, the Hague Convention) and NATO guidelines, these would be the rounds for you. They're also great if you're looking for rounds with penetration rather than for normal defensive carry. The FMJ Match ammo from Double Tap comes with a $1 price break per box. At that rate, why not get the heavier full power loads?

The WFNGC Hardcast loads from Double Tap are what I use for carry in the woods. The flat tip is designed for cutting bone rather than deflecting off, and is advertised by the manufacturer specifically for hunting to create "create a large deep wound channel". These are fun rounds, and I highly recommend them. Many people warn about firing lead rounds through Glock factory polygonal rifled barrels due to excessive fouling and subsequent pressure issues, so if you plan to shoot a large number of lead rounds you might want to invest in an aftermarket barrel. As for me, I just make sure I keep my barrel clean.

Like I said, we reload our ammo for practice bullets, which has the potential to save a lot of money. There's really no place to find economical 10mm ammunition for practice nowadays, and most manufacturers sell watered down crap that's basically .40 S&W. We avoid those manufacturers like the plague, and stick the with the good guys like Double Tap when buying factory ammo.

Jacketed Hollow Points:

And now for the fun part, field tests of JHP expansion!

We recovered fragmented jacketed hollow point bullets from a 2500 page hardcover catalog at 10 yards. This test was certainly less than scientific, but can provide useful field experience in the absence of better ballistic media. I will review the rounds in the following picture from left to right.

The first bullet in the series is an expanded Double Tap JHP, which I rely on for my carry pistol. In this and in previous tests, the brass jacket completely separated from the lead core, but did not otherwise fragment. I find this round to be the ideal combination of power and expansion, and is one of the few 10mm hollow points to come in a heavy 200 grain configuration.

The Buffalo Bore JHP penetrated farther than Double Tap, but had the harshest recoil characteristics of all the rounds tested and completely fragmented in the catalog. The published ballistic data on this round resulted from tests with a Colt Delta Elite, which has a barrel .5" longer than the Glock 20, that Double Tap uses for their tests. This may exaggerate the reported muzzle velocity and force, but I think it is fair to say that Buffalo Bore matches or slightly exceeds the Double Tap JHPs in terms of energy. The recoil increase is noticeable.

I do want to mention that this was the first time I've fired this particular round, and my gun happened to lock up after the very first bullet, which I shot from an otherwise empty magazine. The brass ejected (farther than usual), I dry-fired to de-cock the hammer, and after loading a fresh magazine was unable to cock the firearm. This very well may have been a fluke, or it may have been due to the excessive recoil jarring the recoil spring or kicking loose debris somewhere in the slide. I keep my guns meticulously clean - and it is a Glock - but it was snowing, cold, and could have been anything. I will also mention that my G20 has an aftermarket 22 lb. recoil spring and steel guide rod, so it is tuned to handle hot rounds. Needless to say I would be reluctant to use Buffalo Bore as primary self-defense ammunition after this experience, but I'll need a lot more trigger time with this round before I can come to a good conclusion. Also, at over $1 per round, they are significantly more expensive than even Double Tap.

There is really nothing like the Double Tap Equalizers. This round is made up of a 135 grain JHP on top of a 95 grain lead ball, so it is essentially two distinct bullets in one case. These are a blast to shoot, and they're surprisingly accurate. We were able to recover both the ball and the hollow point from the target, right next to each other. I would personally never use such a nontraditional round for anything but range fun, but you never know when double the firepower could be useful during a zombie apocalypse!

Winchester Silvertips are Mini4me's current choice for 10mm self-defense loads. In this experiment, the hollow point failed to expand within the target, and penetrated deep into the catalog without mushrooming. After recovering the bullet, we noticed a chunk of paper in the center of the lead, clogging the opening and thereby preventing efficient expansion. The jacket remained intact with the bullet core, which did not happen with the other rounds. I want to again emphasize that this does not directly extrapolate to fleshy targets or layers of clothing, so just take it for what it's worth.

The problem with this result is that it has implications to self-defense. There are alleged reports of hollow points becoming clogged with heavy fabrics in human targets, preventing adequate expansion and effectively becoming a full metal jacket round. The end result is decreased energy transfer, weaker knock-down power, and more limited tissue damage. If my life were on the line, I'd want to be able to depend on my bullet's expansion.

The round of the day award would have to go to the Double Tap Equalizer. You just can't beat two bullets in one cartridge!

I hope you all had as much fun reading about these rounds as we did shooting them… Of course that's impossible, but if you have any personal experience with these or other 10mm cartridges, let us know!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Day 2: Glock 20 [10mm] Review

I'm sure there are some of you out there that can't wait for our first post on an antique firearm. But before we get to that, I wanted to interrupt with a brief review of my favorite modern handgun, the 10mm Glock 20.

The reason I became interested in guns in the first place is because I've always enjoyed backpacking and camping. In the summer of 2007, I was hiking a portion of the Appalachian Trail with a buddy of mine, traveling through bear country on a rainy summer night. We couldn't ignore the sounds of sticks breaking and brush moving, and armed with a hunting knife and a can of bear spray, we somehow avoided confrontation with the beast that we were sure was tracking us. We spoke with another backpacker the next morning who mentioned spooking a bear off the trail earlier that day. I noticed his holstered revolver and took the hint.

When searching for the perfect trail companion for an outdoorsman, many default on a revolver due to its simplicity and perceived ruggedness. They assume that modern autoloaders are too prone to failure, and settle for a pretty 6-shot wheelgun. But wouldn't you feel a little more secure taking on the vast wilderness with 16 shots of one of the most powerful handgun rounds ever chambered?

The Glock 20 is a full-size polymer-framed semi-automatic pistol designed for the outdoorsman and hunter. With a magazine capacity of 15+1 and a reputation of indestructibility, a Glock is the only legitimate alternative to the revolver for prolonged outdoor use. Glocks will run forever without maintenance, but with practice can be field striped with one hand if necessary. They'll go bang every time you pull the trigger, and that is the most important feature for me. Whether it's for defense against four-legged creatures, or for everyday carry against two-legged predators, a Glock will always be your best bet for when shit hits the fan.
The GLOCK 20 in 10 mm provides massive
firepower. The use of the recoil-damping
GLOCK hi-tech polymer considerably reduces
recoil. With muzzle energy of 750 Joule and a
magazine capacity of 15 rounds, it is the reliable
companion on every hunt. It allows a safe and accurate
finishing shot even when hunting big game.

Glock manufactures 10mm pistols in two sizes: full-sized (G20) and subcompact (G29). I went for the full-sized version because it facilitates added control, has a higher magazine capacity, and I still have no difficulty concealing it with a proper IWB holster (with a CPL of course*). They also make a G20SF, or "short frame", which is actually the model I purchased, shown in the included pictures. The only difference is a slightly reduced backstrap.

The number one reason to buy a G20: firepower. If you need another reason: durability. If you're looking for a perfect no-frills hunting or self-defense combat sidearm, look no further.

I'll leave you all with this action shot. I'm looking forward to starting up this blog, and you'll be seeing a lot more of my photography in the future. I'll be reviewing a few aftermarket accessories for this gun, and we'll be sure to include some ammunition reviews and field results. If there's anything you want to know about Glocks, leave us a comment. I could talk about my G20 all day.

* Anyone interested in learning how to obtain a concealed pistol license (CPL) in Michigan can contact us directly, but we will definitely make a post about this in the future. Remember, "a right not exercised is a right lost"!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Day 1: New Blog......Operation: What Have We Gotten Ourselves Into?

Welcome to the Ann Arbor Gun Guys blog! From the title its pretty obvious what we're here to do - talk guns. From old black powder military rifles to current day technologically advanced firearms such as the Vector Kriss Super V. We could go on and on about our past history with firearms but for now I'll try to be brief.

The Ann Arbor Gun Guys consist of a few friends pieced together from odds and ends. We all met in college in one way or the other but eventually found out that we loved guns and shooting the very same guns. The entire group as thought of today started with one little rifle and an email.

After much deliberation I had purchased a Russian Mosin Nagant M38 carbine, a shortened version of the Soviet Union's long rifle of the World War Two era. I remember the first time I went to the range I was hooked. The rifle meant so much to me that I started looking for people to share the experience with. Thats how Ann Arbor Gun Guy DeadMeat got involved, and more or less the same happened with backwo0ds.

The rest is history.

The collections kept building and the bank accounts kept diminishing - but it has been worth it.

Thats it for now but stay tuned. Coming up - Cimarron Model P 1873 Colt Peacemaker Reproduction, 1871/88 Beaumont Vitali, and much much more!